Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 10:20 PM
of “beyond marriage” fame, blogs:
Justice Roberts then brought up an issue I have consistently raised in these blog pages and elsewhere. He called in an “internal inconsistency” that plaintiffs say children of same-sex couples are doing great and so there is no problem extending marriage to same-sex couples and they say that Prop 8 harms children because their parents can’t marry. I have always found this problematic. It is why we should not be arguing for marriage saying our children are harmed if we can’t marry. We have said for decades now that children are not harmed being raised by gay and lesbian parents or same-sex couples. We cite study after study that the children turn out fine, or at least not worse than their peers with heterosexual parents. We say this constantly. We cite many studies. So, how, exactly can this be true if at the same time the children are worse off than their peers with heterosexual parents because those parents can marry? It gives me no pleasure to have an obvious opponent of same-sex marriage raise this point from the bench. It’s just an obvious point that advocates boxed themselves into when they decided to conflate the well-being of children with marriage. Verrilli answered by saying marriage was stabilizing, but you see the problem. If children needs that stabilizing factor (if it is even true for same-sex couples…), then you would expect some harm to them to be visible in the years of research about their well-being. But there is no such evidence of harm. So why do they need marriage? The answer is…they don’t, unless you point to specific legal consequences. But almost all of those flow from legal parentage, not marriage. We never should have gone the route of justifying access to marriage based on the well-being of children. But here we are.
Monday, March 25, 2013, 10:19 PM
…But 58 percent of women who have a high-school degree or some college—women we call “middle Americans” and who make up a majority of young adult women—are now having their first child outside of marriage—a rapid and quite recent development. (Among women without a high-school degree, 83 percent do.) The biggest economic issue is that men without college degrees are less likely to hold the kind of stable, decent-paying jobs that will secure their financial future. Chris, 22, a welder in Ohio interviewed for the Love and Marriage in Middle America project at the Institute for American Values, said his recent stint of unemployment “drove the final nail in the coffin” of his relationship with a young woman he was hoping to marry. “[I] was depressed; I was bored out of my mind—no income, not able to do anything. It basically was just like hell,” he said.
Two cultural factors are also in play here. The rise of the “capstone” model of marriage is one such factor, as Cherlin has noted. All Americans, not just the college educated—watch the same TV shows and movies and pick up the idea that adults have to have all their ducks in a row—a middle-class lifestyle, a soul mate relationship—before they settle down. This model sets a high bar for marriage and minimizes marriage’s classic connection to parenthood. So large numbers of less-educated twentysomethings who view the capstone model as unattainable end up having the child before the marriage.
Second, as Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas point out in Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage, many young adults have been scarred by the divorce revolution—which hit poor and middle American communities harder than upper- and middle-class communities—and have become gun-shy about marriage. They have seen too many friends and family divorce to have the trust required to move forward with a wedding. So, living amid a climate characterized by a trust deficit, they often choose, or drift “unintentionally” into, parenthood with partners who are not marriageable or who seem good but to whom they are not yet ready to marry.
Melissa, a 31-year-old single mother, had this to say about why she has never married any of her boyfriends: “I just never felt that anyone’s as loyal to me as I am to them,” she said. “Even when I feel like I’m in a good relationship, there’ll be little things that they’ll do that will make me start wondering, ‘Do they really have my back?’ ”, according to the Love and Marriage in Middle America project, a study of Middle American relationships in a small town in Ohio. What’s striking about Melissa’s comment—which is all too representative—is that it’s not just the bad guys who give her pause about marriage; it’s also the good guys. She just seems to harbor a general suspicion about the possibility of lifelong love and the whole institution of marriage.
Thursday, March 21, 2013, 9:30 PM
via basically my entire Twitter feed, for entirely understandable reasons:
RICHMOND — The girls ages 6 to 16 sit in order of size in the drab lobby of the Richmond City Jail, their glittery shoes swinging back and forth.
“I don’t like it here,” says Jhaniyika Morman, 6, who covers her eyes, smudging her blue eye shadow and pointing toward the jail’s visitation booths, where inmates are separated from their visitors by thick glass.
“I’m nervous. I hope he recognizes me,” mumbles Alexis Atkins, 9, who has her blond hair curled into long ringlets and keeps zipping and unzipping her hot-pink purse.
Down the hall, through several gates and inside a communal cell with thick blue bars, 12 inmates change from their frayed one-piece jumpsuits into formal attire. They pass belts and shirts of various sizes back and forth between the tight rows of steel bunk beds.
“Anyone know how to do up this here tie?” asks a jittery looking Andre Morman, 42, who has been in and out of jail on drug charges numerous times.
Then the inmates line up, too. They walk down a long hallway and wait in silence to get a glimpse of the girls: their daughters.
For a few hours on this Saturday afternoon, the incarcerated fathers will be allowed to take part in an American tradition, the father-daughter dance. “A Dance of Their Own,” thought to be the only event of its kind in the country, will be in the jail’s small, windowless multipurpose room. …
Only some of the inmates will be allowed to attend the dance. It’s open only to nonviolent offenders; interested fathers are interviewed by a jail deputy and have their criminal histories reviewed. They must also get permission from the child’s mother.
When the class begins, the men fall silent.
“How many of you are fathers?” asks Brian Gullins, a coordinator with the Richmond Family and Fatherhood Initiative.
Nearly every hand goes up in the room.
“What are your top three emotions about your own father?,” he asks.
Thursday, March 21, 2013, 2:56 PM
The decline of two-parent households may be a significant reason for the divergent fortunes of male workers, whose earnings generally declined in recent decades, and female workers, whose earnings generally increased, a prominent labor economist argues in a new survey of existing research.
David H. Autor, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says that the difference between men and women, at least in part, may have roots in childhood. Only 63 percent of children lived in a household with two parents in 2010, down from 82 percent in 1970. The single parents raising the rest of those children are predominantly female. And there is growing evidence that sons raised by single mothers “appear to fare particularly poorly,” Professor Autor wrote in an analysis for Third Way, a center-left policy research organization. …
“A vicious cycle may ensue,” wrote Professor Autor and his co-author, Melanie Wasserman, a graduate student, “with the poor economic prospects of less educated males creating differentially large disadvantages for their sons, thus potentially reinforcing the development of the gender gap in the next generation.”
Thursday, March 21, 2013, 2:31 PM
A couple for more than a decade, Maddison Spenrath and Kyle Eerbeek are, by all accounts, in it for the long haul. The two started dating in high school and, in 2008, moved from Calgary to Vancouver, settling into an apartment in the city’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. In 2011, they toured Hawaii’s Big Island, navigating mountains, beaches and tropical rainforests on their first big vacation together – an experience Ms. Spenrath recalls as “amazing.”
There has been passing talk of marriage, but both agree now is not the time.
“We don’t see a benefit of getting married [over] our own relationship,” said Ms. Spenrath, a graduate student at the University of British Columbia. “I wouldn’t rule it out entirely, but definitely not in the near future.”
But on Monday, Ms. Spenrath, 26, and Mr. Eerbeek, 28, will be married – in virtually every legal sense. That’s when B.C.’s new Family Law Act comes into effect, granting couples who have lived together for two or more years the same rights and regulations as married couples. So while no ink has hit a marriage certificate, one partner’s new car suddenly becomes “family property”; student debt accrued by the other during the course of the relationship becomes “family debt.”
more; and below the cut, more from a gay paper.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013, 11:47 PM
Yahoo News: “In Sickness, Marriage May Not Boost Health”:
Marriage is good for the health, but it isn’t so beneficial “in sickness,” new research finds.
Previous studies have consistently found that people who are married report better health than people who aren’t. But marriage may not do much to help people who are seriously ill, the study finds. On top of that, married people overestimate how healthy they are. …
Married people don’t rate their health as poor until they’ve developed more severe health problems than unmarried people, the researchers found. So someone who is married and says they’re in poor health may actually be worse off than a singleton in poor health. The difference could help explain why the benefit of marriage seems to vanish in the poor-health category.
NYT Motherlode blog: “Pregnant Without a Policy in Graduate School”:
Pregnancy during graduate school could make sense for many women, and, if studies correlating a variety of increased risks with maternal (and paternal) age are correct, encouraging couples to have children younger could have broad benefits. Women in graduate school also have decreased responsibilities to clients, employers or patients. If a pregnant medical or graduate student is “not a bad idea,” then should graduate schools better support pregnant women — and how?
Zach Stafford at the Huffington Post: “‘Monogamish’: Two Is Company, But Is Three Really a Crowd?”:
Dr. Jeffrey T. Parsons, director of Hunter College’s Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training (CHEST), worked with a team of researchers to investigate a relatively unexplored area of social research: monogamy and commitment among gay and bisexual men. After surveying over 800 gay and bisexual men in the New York City area, Dr. Parsons and his team found that “the diversity in types of non-monogamous relationships was interesting…. Typically gay men have been categorized as monogamous or not, and our data show that it is not so black and white.” CHEST explains on its website:
CHEST’s survey indicated that about 60% were single. Of those partnered, about 58% were in monogamous relationships. Of those that were non-monogamous, 53% were in open relationships, and 47% were in “monogamish” relationships (i.e., couples that have sex with others as a couple such as “threeways” or group sex).These findings are not unique, and New York City’s gay and bi men aren’t the only ones engaging in these behaviors. In 2010 researchers at San Francisco State University carried out a similar study that revealed just how common open relationships are among partnered gay men and lesbians in the Bay Area. As The New York Times reported, “The Gay Couples Study … followed 556 male couples for three years — about 50 percent of those surveyed have sex outside their relationships, with the knowledge and approval of their partners.” That figure is remarkably similar to what CHEST found. …
Dr. Parsons added, “Our findings suggest that certain types of non-monogamous relationships — especially ‘monogamish‘ ones — are actually beneficial to gay men, contrary to assumptions that monogamous relationships are always somehow inherently better.”
Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 6:44 PM
In Sunday’s New York Times, med student and new mom Anna Jesus wrote about having a child in her 20s while still in graduate school. She thought she would wait until after her training to conceive, but a fertility problem appeared when she was in her mid-20s, so she and her husband decided to try for a child while they had age on their side. The takeaway from her piece is that sometimes it’s worth considering having a kid before your career is launched.
In response to Jesus’ piece, a woman wrote into the Times‘ parenting blog Motherlode about how she made a similar choice and was appalled by people’s lack of support. Even in a place where they were training obstetricians and midwives, the woman’s “program viewed my pregnancy as a personal issue I was having (I might say, ‘caused’ for myself) and that I shouldn’t expect any special accommodations.”
Let’s get out of the way that the lack of support for pregnant women in the United States is appalling (as I’ve gone on about before). And also let’s make the disclaimer that when you decide to have a child is deeply idiosyncratic, and there are so many factors that go into it—economic, romantic, emotional—not to mention the fact that you can’t just schedule in a baby like you schedule a vacation. No matter how old you are, you can’t assume you will conceive like clockwork.
All that said, I do think there’s something to Jesus’ argument that perhaps ambitious women in their 20s who also want kids should consider having them sooner rather than later.
Thursday, February 28, 2013, 7:40 PM
blogs at Christianity Today:
I read Owen Strachan’s recent rant against a Sesame Street episode in which “Baby Bear” is told it’s OK for boys to play with dolls on the same day my six-year-old son took his Matey Anchors doll to school for show and tell. Maybe my reaction would have been different at a different time. …
When we say baby dolls are for girls, that only girls should cuddle and coo dolls, we claim that babies are women’s domains, that only mothers should rock and coo and play with their children. What a horrible thing to teach our kids (though it’s a common enough claim in our culture). It’s a view shared by the “my body/my choice” crowd as well TV writers who malign sitcom dads as doofuses. Strachan probably never imagined he had so much in common with these folks.
Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 10:38 PM
at the Huffington Post:
Stephanie slips the brown paper sleeve off a Starbucks drink and starts tearing it artfully. A small hut emerges. “My vacation home,” she says wistfully. Stephanie could use a vacation. Her last one was a weekend trip with her ex-boyfriend to the caves in Ohio’s Hocking Hills — which consisted of fighting in a tiny cabin and ended in their break-up. At age nineteen, Stephanie gave birth to her son and for years raised him alone. When he was four, she met and got pregnant with her current boyfriend, with whom she has a toddler. She and her boyfriend live together in a public housing duplex in small town, southwestern Ohio. Between the two of them, they have worked in just about every restaurant in town.
When asked what she thinks about marriage, Stephanie, whose own parents divorced several times, has a lot to say: “I believe you only get married once. So if I get married, I don’t want to be divorced.” Now that she and her boyfriend feel like family, she thinks it would be good to get married.
She says that marriage is more “binding” and “final,” and better for children. But for Stephanie, marriage poses a terrible choice: “If we got married,” she frowns, “what’s going to happen with my food stamps? How am I going to take care of my kids if those get taken from me?”
Stephanie is right to be worried. Experts estimate that, for most couples receiving public assistance, getting married will reduce their benefits by 10 percent to 20 percent of their total income. For people already living at the margins and often mired in debt (Stephanie herself has no college degree, but does owe $10,000 in school loans), that possibility is enough to make them think twice about marriage. And yet, Stephanie is also right that marriage on average is far more stable for children than just living together. By age 12, children born to cohabiting couples are 170 percent more likely to see their parents split up, compared to children born to married couples.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 9:27 PM
in the New York Times:
…Eleven years after her husband went to prison, Ms. Hamilton followed his advice to divorce, but she didn’t remarry. Like other women in communities with high rates of incarceration, she faced a shortage of potential mates. Because more than 90 percent of prisoners are men, their absence skews the gender ratio. In some neighborhoods in Washington, there are 6 men for every 10 women.
“With so many men locked up, the ones left think they can do whatever they want,” Ms. Hamilton said. “A man will have three mistresses, and they’ll each put up with it because there are no other men around.”
Epidemiologists have found that when the incarceration rate rises in a county, there tends to be a subsequent increase in the rates of sexually transmitted diseases and teenage pregnancy, possibly because women have less power to require their partners to practice protected sex or remain monogamous.
When researchers try to explain why AIDS is much more prevalent among blacks than whites, they point to the consequences of incarceration, which disrupts steady relationships and can lead to high-risk sexual behavior. When sociologists look for causes of child poverty and juvenile delinquency, they link these problems to the incarceration of parents and the resulting economic and emotional strains on families.
Some families, of course, benefit after an abusive parent or spouse is locked up. But Christopher Wildeman, a Yale sociologist, has found that children are generally more likely to suffer academically and socially after the incarceration of a parent. Boys left fatherless become more physically aggressive. Spouses of prisoners become more prone to depression and other mental and physical problems. …
Before the era of mass incarceration, there was already evidence linking problems in poor neighborhoods to the high number of single-parent households and also to the high rate of mobility: the continual turnover on many blocks as transients moved in and out.
Now those trends have been amplified by the prison boom’s “coercive mobility,” as it is termed by Todd R. Clear, the dean of the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University. In some low-income neighborhoods, he notes, virtually everyone has at least one relative currently or recently behind bars, so families and communities are continually disrupted by people going in and out of prison.
Friday, February 15, 2013, 1:12 AM
In my latest working paper, co-authored with Oliver Richards, we argue that recent fertility increases in developed countries may only be the beginning. From the abstract:
We propose that the recent rise in the fertility rate in developed countries is the beginning of a broad-based increase in fertility towards above-replacement levels. Environmental shocks that reduced fertility over the past 200 years changed the composition of fertility-related traits in the population and temporarily raised fertility heritability. As those with higher fertility are selected for, the “high-fertility” genotypes are expected to come to dominate the population, causing the fertility rate to return to its pre-shock level. We show that even with relatively low levels of genetically based variation in fertility, there can be a rapid return to a high-fertility state, with recovery to above-replacement levels usually occurring within a few generations. In the longer term, this implies that the proportion of elderly in the population will be lower than projected, reducing the fiscal burden of ageing on developed world governments. However, the rise in the fertility rate increases the population size and proportion of dependent young, presenting other fiscal and policy challenges.
Friday, February 1, 2013, 8:32 PM
While you vowed to stick together for richer and poorer, what happens day to day in between these two extremes is probably what matters most. And your employment status may be the most telling harbinger of divorce.
Research conducted at the University of Ohio and published by the American Journal of Sociology indicates a woman’s employment status has no effect on whether her husband will stay or go. And an employed woman is only more likely to initiate divorce than an unemployed woman if she reports being highly unsatisfied with the marriage.
It’s different for guys. They are more likely to leave a marriage, and they are more likely to be left if they are unemployed.
Researchers involved with the study suspect this speaks to the fact that women working has become acceptable, but men not working does not sit as well.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013, 9:33 PM
“Pope: Easy Annulments Undercut the Value of Marriage,” USA Today:
Pope Benedict XVI says granting annulments too easily is undercutting the value of lifelong marriage.
In a speech Saturday, he asked the Vatican’s highest appeals court to consider reviewing church rules on marriage annulments.
He told to the members of the tribunal of the Roman Rota, that “lack of faith” on the part of the spouses can affect the validity of a marriage, according to Religion News Service. …
According to canon law, the validity of a marriage requires that both the man and woman freely and publicly consent to the union and that they have the psychological capacity to assume the obligations of marriage.
But “Immaturity or psychic weakness,” the most frequently cited reasons for seeking an annulment, are not good enough reasons, Pope Benedict said, according to the Catholic News Service report.
“Lebanon’s Top Cleric Issues Fatwa Against Civil Marriage,” AFP:
Lebanon’s top Sunni Muslim authority on Monday issued a fatwa against moves to legalize civil marriages inside the country, where couples of different faiths have to travel abroad to tie the knot.
The religious edict came a day after President Michel Sleiman tweeted that he would remain steadfast in supporting such unions, while Prime Minister Najib Mikati wrote on his Twitter account that a consensus was required to address the issue.
Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani issued the fatwa branding as an apostate any Muslim politician who approves civil marriage legislation.
“Any Muslim with legal or executive authority in Lebanon who supports the legalization of civil marriage is an apostate and outside the religion of Islam,” he said on the website of Dar al-Fatwa, the official institution for fatwas. …
Sleiman, a Christian, tweeted that he would “respond to the evolution and aspirations of the people and prepare the appropriate laws for the issue of civil marriage.”
“Television’s Changing View of Marriage,” Alyssa Rosenberg:
In a recent discussion of sitcoms in the New York Review of Books, inspired by both “The Mindy Project” and two new volumes on TV history, Elaine Blair writes that:
“Mindy might love watching ‘When Harry Met Sally,’ but she is a character in a television sitcom, not a Hollywood romantic comedy, so we can be pretty sure that her own romantic life is going to be different from Sally Albright’s: Mindy is going to be unlucky in love. Not just in the pilot episode or during the first season, but probably for years, or as long as the show is renewed.”
But Blair is wrong: This is actually a terrific moment for televised marriage. While the travails of single girls remain a subject of television comedy, no longer is tormenting spinsters for viewers’ amusement the dominant trope. In fact, exploring what happens after the white dress and the honeymoon is increasingly one of network television’s advantages over cable, which has made full use of its license to deploy sex and violence, but spends less time on the triumphs and tragedies of everyday life.
Thursday, January 24, 2013, 5:04 PM
…Although The Threshold Centre, as the community is called, is open to all ages (the youngest resident they have had, was two) and most residents like the green and spiritual aspect of the centre, co-housing is being touted as an antidote to the chronic loneliness many people face in old age. Groups have sprung up across the country: 12 are established, and another 32 are in development, three of which hope to create homes exclusively for older people. Co-housing, says Professor William Lauder at the University of Stirling, who has studied the health effects of loneliness, is an “absolutely perfect” solution to what has become “one of the most important and least-addressed public health issues”. …
Disability and ill health have long been recognised as triggers for loneliness but the fragmentation of society – the decline of the nuclear family, the way we move around for work, the fact that fewer families live with older relatives, and of course, the increasing numbers of people living alone – clearly adds to the problem.
Iris Nichol, for instance, moved from her home in Newcastle to live next door to her daughter in a village in Northumberland 10 years ago. She is 80 and sees her daughter, a headmistress, every day and has close relationships with her other children, she also visits a day centre run by the age positive charity, WRVS. But because her daughter works long hours, it can be a solitary existence, as she often does not see anyone else. “People are different today,” she says. “They keep themselves to themselves. If you ask them to help, they are always willing, but I have been more or less incapacitated for the last few years and not one has asked me if I am all right.
“I grew up in a little mining village in County Durham. We lived in an enclave of people who worked for the same boss, but nowadays it is only retired people here. I sit where I can see out the window to the focal point of the village, and most days I see no one at all. There’s no movement, apart from a cat.”
Iris says it was the local bus service being cut that compounded her feeling of isolation, because she could no longer get around on her own to visit the shops or go to a cafe. She tells me that the day before we talk she did not see anyone until her daughter came home at 9pm, then poignantly corrects herself: “The postman always gives me a wave.”
David McCullough, chief executive of WRVS says it is a problem he has heard many times. The charity started to research loneliness after the people it supports said it was the thing that made the most difference in their lives, over financial or even health worries.
Despite the scale of the problem, few people are willing to admit to feeling lonely – Nichol, for instance, won’t use the word of herself but says her problem is “more a lack of company”. Loneliness is still stigmatised, says Cacioppo and “those who are afflicted by it tend to deny it, ignore it, or tough it out”.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013, 7:39 PM
A few months ago, Nicki Roswell had a knock on her door. A neighbour needed the back of her dress laced up and didn’t have anyone to do it for her. Ms. Roswell sympathized, since she lives alone herself, and fastened the woman’s clothing.The two are residents of Liberty Village, a fast-growing downtown Toronto neighbourhood where nearly 55 per cent of the population – 2,200 people, from ambitious twentysomethings to midlife professionals – resides solo.
While they may live by themselves, demographically they are in good company: There are now, for the first time, more one-person households in Canada than those populated by couples who have children. (Only two-person households are more common.)
Census figures released last fall revealed that 27.6 per cent of Canadian homes have just one occupant, a vast shift from decades past.
Single dwellers accounted for only 7.4 per cent of homes in 1951 and 13.4 per cent in 1971.
Today, there are 3,673,305 single-occupancy households in the country, an increase that is mirrored in the United States and a few steps behind similar trends in Europe.
For her part, Ms. Roswell has enjoyed being “sequestered” in her bachelor townhouse since 2009, after her divorce. And the 39-year-old art director is not in any hurry to change it.
“You’re not anxious,” she says, “about ‘completing your life’ or ‘moving to the next phase,’ because this phase is not a place of discomfort.”
At least, not until it’s made that way by others, such as the family friend who asked her pointedly why women today believe their lives must be “perfect” before they have children, or the business associate who urged her to “go out and get some sperm, right away!”
Tuesday, January 22, 2013, 3:48 PM
Are today’s young adults struggling for too long, unable to leave the nest after years of helicopter parenting—or are they just reliving the same issues that previously stumped their elders?
New York Times magazine writer Robin Marantz Henig and her daughter Samantha Henig, an editor at the New York Times, try to answer these questions in their new book, 20something: Why Do Young Adults Seem Stuck? TIME spoke with them recently about the so-called Millennial generation and its discontents.
I was very glad to see that in your book, you consider 20somethings in two ways— one that you title “Same as It Ever Was” and the other “Now Is New.” Many books and articles on this topic assume everything is unprecedented, but complaints about “these kids today” go back at least to Plato.
RH: Our primary theme is that the 20s are times of making decisions and there are all sorts of doors that you have to start closing. I think it’s more interesting in a way that it’s always been like this. It’s so easy to forget when you are in your 50s and 60s what things really were like when you were young. But yes, these complaints are eternal.
So, what really is different now?
RH: The biggest change now that permeates a lot of aspects of young people’s lives are changes in technology. There are two kinds: the always-connected internet stuff. There’s also reproductive technology, which because of its [media ubiquity] is something people are taking for granted.
Young women are not at all feeling the age 30 deadline that my peers did [for having children]. The lack of feeling that pressure pushes back the urgency about accomplishing lots of things, not only marrying and having children, but also [issues] about career and where you want to live.
Saturday, January 19, 2013, 12:58 PM
Beginning today and continuing through Friday, we will be highlighting the expert analysis and thoughtful recommendations of 12 pastors, scholars and opinion leaders from across the country. They respond to the recently released report titled Does the Shape of Families Shape Faith? Challenging Churches to Confront the Impact of Family Change, funded by the Lilly Endowment and published by the Center for Marriage and Families at the Institute for American Values.
more, with a link to all the posts
Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 5:57 PM
Bravo is stepping a little outside of its wheelhouse with its latest reality series order. The network announced Wednesday that it has given the green light to Extreme Guide to Parenting (working title).
The unscripted effort from Punched in the Head is intended to offer a candid glimpse into the lives of people using unconventional parenting tactics. The overprotective, fiercely competitive and nondisciplinarian will all be included — as will parents who breastfeed their children past age 4.
Saturday, January 12, 2013, 12:33 AM
China’s “Little Emperors” — the generations of only-children born under the government’s rigid “one child” policy — are living up to their name.
A study published Thursday in the journal Science has found that compared with two groups of people born in the years before China began its harsh population-control policy, those born after were less conscientious, more risk-averse and less inclined to compete with — or cooperate with — others. …
The mismatch between widespread attitudes in China and hard data from researchers was a puzzle to a pair of economists at Australia’s Monash University — one of whom emigrated from China and has a single daughter born there under the one-child policy.
Lisa Cameron and Xin Meng set out to capture changes wrought by the one-child policy with a battery of economic games designed to measure a player’s propensity toward altruism, trust, competitiveness and risk-taking.
Cameron and Xin recruited 215 people born in 1975 and 1978, before the policy began, and 208 people born in 1980 and 1983, after the policy was implemented. Among the older group, 55% had at least one sibling, compared with 15% in the younger group.
Each subject completed a 44-question personality inventory to gauge such traits as extroversion, agreeableness and negativity. The study volunteers also played games that are thought to reveal the true behavioral inclinations of players rather than their fleeting emotions or the values they claim to embrace. As they played through these games, the contrasts between the two groups were striking, the researchers said.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013, 11:21 PM
blogs at Psychology Today:
…Now, about the children. I wish I could say that there are stacks of methodologically rigorous studies comparing the implications for children whose parents are or are not polyamorous. Instead, there are very few, so any conclusions are tentative at best.
The authors of the review article believe that the implications for the children of their parents’ relationships are most likely to be noteworthy if those relationships are not hidden from the children. So the review article focuses on those families in which some or all of the various partners are involved in the children’s lives, either as co-parents or in roles similar to those of aunts or uncles.
Elisabeth Sheff has conducted two studies of the well-being of the children of polyamorous parents. In one, she interviewed the parents, and in the other, she talked to children between 5 and 18 years old. (Based on what is reported in the review article, I don’t think she interviewed other families for comparison. Like I said, we need more research, and more rigorous research.)
The Perspective of the Polyamorous Parents
In the interviews, the parents described a number of ways their children benefited from the polyamory:
- “The children had more individualized time with adults.”
- They “could spend less time in day care because of the flexibility of having multiple parental figures involved in their lives.”
- “…the greater diversity of interests available from adult figures helped children foster a wider variety of hobbies and skills.”
The parents mentioned drawbacks as well, particularly “the discomfort of having partnerships between adults dissolve and the resulting emotional trauma for children who may have been very attached to a departing partner.”
The Perspective of the Children
The children Sheff interviewed were mostly White and middle class. Her impression was that they were “articulate, thoughtful, intelligent, and secure in their relationships with their parents.” The older children were more aware of being in an unusual family situation than the younger ones, but they were not questioned by school personnel or other students about having multiple parental figures in their lives because so many of the other students did, too (e.g., step-parents, romantic partners of single parents).
The children did not express the same concern with the real or potential loss of adult attachments as their parents did. As the authors of the review article explained:
“Many of the children reported that their parents’ former partners stayed involved in their lives even after the sexual or romantic phase of the partners’ relationships to the parents ended. The children did report experiencing some pain at losing the friendship of adults who were not involved in their lives any longer, but they felt this pain for both former romantic partners and also for platonic friends of parents whom they no longer saw for a variety of reasons.”
more (and more here, including bibliographies; and “Note that much of the information comes only from gay couples.”)
Wednesday, January 9, 2013, 11:12 PM
Law student Michael Corliss thought he was just being a “law nerd” when he chose a passage from the landmark court decision that allowed same-sex marriage in Massachusetts to be read at his August wedding ceremony.
But it turned out that Corliss, a Milton native, and his bride, Amelia Neptune, both 28, were not alone.
Portions of the decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, the 2003 Supreme Judicial Court ruling that made Massachusetts the first state to recognize gay marriages, have become common wedding readings among both same-sex and heterosexual couples in Massachusetts and beyond, several local wedding celebrants said. …
“Civil marriage is at once a deeply personal commitment to another human being and a highly public celebration of the ideals of mutuality, companionship, intimacy, fidelity, and family,” a key passage reads. “Because it fulfills yearnings for security, safe haven, and connection that express our common humanity, civil marriage is an esteemed institution, and the decision whether and whom to marry is among life’s momentous acts of self-definition.”
Wednesday, January 2, 2013, 5:38 PM
The first-ever examination of the Internet’s impact on adoption, released today, concludes that social media and other elements of this modern technology are having “transformative” effects – positive and negative – on adoption policy, practice and millions of people’s lives, while raising serious legal, ethical and procedural concerns that have yet to be addressed.
“Untangling the Web: The Internet’s Transformative Impact on Adoption” is the initial publication of a multiyear research project on the subject by the Donaldson Adoption Institute. Its key findings include:
- There is a growing “commodification” of adoption on the web, replete with dubious practices, and a shift away from the perspective that its primary purpose is to find families for children.
- Finding birth relatives is becoming increasingly easy and commonplace, with significant institutional and personal implications, including the likely end of the era of “closed” adoption.
- A growing number of young adoptees are forming relationships with birth relatives, sometimes without their adoptive parents’ knowledge and usually without guidance or preparation.
- A rising number of websites offer useful, positive resources and expedite the adoption of children and youth who need families, notably including those with special needs. …
Among the recommendations in the Institute’s 70-page report are:
Professionals who deal with expectant and pre-adoptive parents should get training reflecting the certainty that many, if not most of their clients. will be able to find each other at some point, and should educate them about the benefits of openness and the realities of such relationships.
Practitioners should get additional training and resources to enable them to better assist the growing number of adopted individuals and others who seek help with search and reunion.
Policy and law-enforcement officials should routinely review online adoption-related sites/activity for fraud, exploitation or other illegal/unethical practices, and should take action as warranted.
Laws that impede the parties to adoption from gaining significant information, including “closed records” statutes, should be repealed since the Internet obviates their main contemporary rationale (i.e., preventing the affected parties from learning about and finding each other).
Wednesday, January 2, 2013, 5:34 PM
Topekan William Marotta sought only to become a sperm donor — but now the state of Kansas is trying to have him declared a father.
Nearly four years ago, Marotta donated sperm in a plastic cup to a lesbian couple after responding to an ad they had placed on Craigslist.
Marotta and the women, Topekans Angela Bauer and Jennifer Schreiner, signed an agreement holding him harmless for support of the child, a daughter Schreiner bore after being artificially inseminated.
But the Kansas Department for Children and Families is now trying to have Marotta declared the 3-year-old girl’s father and forced to pay child support. The case is scheduled for a Jan. 8 hearing in Shawnee County District Court.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012, 11:55 PM
Growing numbers of elderly and sick Germans are being sent overseas for long-term care in retirement and rehabilitation centres because of rising costs and falling standards in Germany.
The move, which has seen thousands of retired Germans rehoused in homes in eastern Europe and Asia, has been severely criticised by social welfare organisations who have called it “inhumane deportation”.
But with increasing numbers of Germans unable to afford the growing costs of retirement homes, and an ageing and shrinking population, the number expected to be sent abroad in the next few years is only likely to rise. Experts describe it as a “time bomb”.
Germany’s chronic care crisis – the care industry suffers from lack of workers and soaring costs – has for years been mitigated by eastern Europeans migrating to Germany in growing numbers to care for the country’s elderly.
But the transfer of old people to eastern Europe is being seen as a new and desperate departure, indicating that even with imported, cheaper workers, the system is unworkable.
Germany has one of the fastest-ageing populations in the world, and the movement here has implications for other western countries, including Britain, particularly amid fears that austerity measures and rising care costs are potentially undermining standards of residential care.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012, 11:49 PM
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…“It was as if the music stopped,” Ms. LaShawn, 31, said, recalling how the date this year went so wrong so quickly after she tried to answer his question honestly. “It was really awkward because he kept telling me that I was the perfect girl for him, but that a low credit score was his deal-breaker.”
The credit score, once a little-known metric derived from a complex formula that incorporates outstanding debt and payment histories, has become an increasingly important number used to bestow credit, determine housing and even distinguish between job candidates.
It’s so widely used that it has also become a bigger factor in dating decisions, sometimes eclipsing more traditional priorities like a good job, shared interests and physical chemistry. That’s according to interviews with more than 50 daters across the country, all under the age of 40.
“Credit scores are like the dating equivalent of a sexually transmitted disease test,” said Manisha Thakor, the founder and chief executive of MoneyZen Wealth Management, a financial advisory firm. “It’s a shorthand way to get a sense of someone’s financial past the same way an S.T.D. test gives some information about a person’s sexual past.”
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